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Early Head Start working for better stats

UPDATE: Early Head Start Curriculum Manager Debra Wale updated the Picayune School District’s board of trustees about how the children are doing in the areas of literacy, language and math. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

UPDATE: Early Head Start Curriculum Manager Debra Wale updated the Picayune School District’s board of trustees about how the children are doing in the areas of literacy, language and math.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Members of the Separate Municipal Picayune School District board of trustees heard an Early Head Start initial outcome report during Tuesday’s meeting.
The results from the report were mostly positive, showing that all children in the program are excelling in language and literacy.
A small area of improvement is needed in Math, however, said EHS Curriculum Manager Debra Wale.
There are several benefits children in the program receive. Wale said that 3-year-old children from advantaged homes have more than double the vocabulary of those who are not.
As part of the program children are assessed three times per year, where teachers look for deficiencies in the child’s development, such as in the areas of social, emotional, math, language and literary skills.
When problem areas are discovered the staff is charged with coming up with ways to help the children succeed. Wale said to help fix the sliding performance in math, teachers will begin to embed math exercises in everyday activities such as tying shoes and washing hands. Wale said if the exercises are fun then children are more apt to pick up the embedded lesson.
While math is a concern, Wale said the subject is easy to remediate, so their focus is on building language and literary skills.
If a teacher is found to have errors in their report, they are retrained on how to properly assess the child’s development, Wale said.
In other business the board approved a bid of $1,100 for a district owned FEMA trailer. Two trailers were up for bid, but the bidder was only interested in one. District Finance Director Lisa Penton said the winning bidder has to pay to have the trailer moved.
Penton said this was the second time the district has advertised for bids on the trailers. The initial attempt for bids garnered none. The board discussed the possibility of scrapping the second trailer, but Superintendent Dean Shaw said it would cost the district between $4,000 to $5,000 to have it moved. The board then approved a motion to accept the bid made on one of the trailers, and to advertise for more bids on the second.
The board also approved a motion to apply for a Mississippi Department of Education K-3 literacy support grant. District Curriculum Coordinator Vera Beech said the only school interested in applying for the grant is Roseland Park Elementary , which could provide up to $50,000 to help pay current teachers to tutor students in need of literary help.
Board member Frank Feeley asked about each school’s literacy rate, especially Nicholson Elementary’s, and suggested the school with the lowest figure also apply for the grant. He said Nicholson may be most in need of the grant since it has a diverse student population.
“They ought to be first at the doorstep,” Feeley said.